Monthly Archives: December 2012

Merry Christmas

I’m going to fully enjoy my holiday break and take a little vacation from blogging. I want to be fully present during the First Annual Comfy Cozy Moser Family Christmas. I’m sure I’ll take enough photos for a recap post.

Since we didn’t send out Christmas cards this year, I’ll leave you with my Christmas letter, which I plan to write this year and every year so I never get to far without reflecting on what a lucky, lovely life I really have.

Merry Christmas to my wonderful friends and family- who I know are the only ones silly enough to listen to what I have to say. I hope the blessings of the season triumph over any darkness you might have in your lives.

The happiest moment of my year. Right here John is saying, “I now pronounce you…”
(Photo Credit: Katie Day) 

                                                                                                December 2012
Dear Santa,
We have such an incredibly blessed year. I praise the Lord again as I think of His goodness and glory in 2012.
2012 was the year of the wedding! I went dress shopping with my bridesmaids and my moms (all 3 of them) and finally picked one out at Teresa’s Bridal here in Kirksville. We finally decided to have our ceremony and reception on Dad’s farm and spent the summer painting the barn red and working on getting the place wedding ready. I made flowers, painted signs, and gathered vintage jars and vases for our centerpieces. It was a labor of love.
October 6, 2012 was the big day and I’ve never been more acutely aware of the Lord’s love in my life. Surrounded by friends and family, Brett and I wed in a flurry of tears, laughter, and lots and lots of dancing. I’ll never forget those moments.
In other good news, I got my braces off in April and was so glad to be done with that process. No implants yet, but 2013 looks to be the year. In May, Brett and I also hosted a Rotary Exchange guest from Romania named Odi Onyejekwe. He and the whole group of Romanians were great to get to know. People really are the same everywhere. Over Memorial Day weekend and Brett’s birthday we visited our friends Tim and Shana in Chicago. We drank and ate our way through the city. Over the summer they moved to DC, Shana’s hometown, so I’m glad we got the chance to stay with them while they lived close. In June, Brett and I ran at the Hospital Hill Race with his mom. Brett and Marilyn ran the 10K and I ran the 5K. In between wedding planning, we also made time to go to the All Star Game in Kansas City in July. It was 3 days of baseball fun and we loved taking advantage of the once in a lifetime opportunity. This year was the first summer at our apartment and we enjoyed our patio by grilling every chance we got. We love our new place and have made it very much our home.
No year is perfect of course and this year has certainly seen its challenges. After a long and not always smooth transition, I started a new job within my office in October as Assistant Tourism Director. Brett and I grew apart from old friends, but of course, grew closer to new ones. We are no strangers to illness, in ourselves and our families, but each day brings new opportunity for healing and peace.
As we approach our first Christmas as a married couple, I thank God for his glory. I feel blessed beyond measure. All I want for Christmas this year is everything I have.
Much love,
Amanda 

Resolutions, Again

Last year, I made 12 goals for 2012. It was fun.

Some of them I did (I’ll count my personal training sessions as “taking a class”), some I didn’t (“take a trip to wine country with Brett.”) Some I tried (“write a letter once a week,”) and some I didn’t (“buy an SLR camera.”) Some I want to hang on to and give another go (“practice patience,”) and some I’ve realized just ain’t gunna happen (“compete the MS Challenge walk.”)

I’m glad I made goals. I’m glad I had a few failures and few successes. This year, however, I’m going to try something different. I’ll get to why.

Do you know anyone more demanding than yourself? I don’t.

Here’s an incomplete list of things I expect of myself and fail to achieve day after day, year after year:

Wash my face everyday
Stop losing my retainer
Fix my hair on a regular basis
Shower everyday
Stop criticizing people
Stop over analyzing
Start working out
Stop snacking
Stop getting second helpings of cookies
Start reading smarter books
Be smarter
Be prettier
Be quieter
Be more charming
Stop leaving laundry in the dryer for a week
Stop leaving my shoes in front of the door
Stop crying so much
Stop interrupting people while they talk
Figure out a sleep schedule
Lose weight
Lose weight
Lose weight
Lose weight
Lose weight

When I look at that list, my heart hurts for myself. Its like I step outside of my body for a minute and I see this girl with frizzy blonde hair sitting at her computer with her shoulders slumped and tears in her eyes and I just want to hug her. I want to say, “Do you know how many people love you?” I want to say, “Do you know your husband thinks you are the most beautiful person he’s ever met?” I want to say, “Do you know that you are the person you are supposed to be and you are becoming someone who is doing just a little bit better everyday?” 

And when I step back into myself, I do know. I’m pretty good. And I’m getting better. So I’ve decided that rather than make a list of goals for 2013, which was a totally fun and completely acceptable exercise- I’m going to develop a mantra.

I’m going to find a phrase, or a quote, or a verse that aligns with what I want my life force to be and I’m going to allow that be my mantra, my purpose, my statement of intent for the year that follows. It won’t be something at which I will be able to succeed or fail. It will simply be a quiet, but constant reminder to myself that I am good and I am getting better.

I don’t have it yet, but you know I’ll share it when I do.

Happy almost new year.

Excuses

The last week or two have been all the evidence I need that sustaining a functioning blog can only be done with a part time work schedule. I’ve been logging some full work days so that I can enjoy time off for Christmas (and I was sick) and the attention to my blog has totally suffered.

Brett is also feeling the lack of constant, virtual attention so here are some of my favorite photos of him from the wedding. This is an all Brett post. Gosh- I love that guy. (Warning: Don’t stare at these photos too long. You’ll start to love him too.)

What a good guy. He’ll kill me for this post. I know it. 🙂

All photos courtesy of the beautiful, talented, and recently mama-again, Katie Day.

Catching Up

This weekend feels all about catching up.

Churning out another blog post.

Cleaning my house.

Finishing my wrapping.

Updating my budget.

Stocking my kitchen.

Let’s fit some fun in there alright?

This afternoon, my office is sponsoring a free movie- The Muppets Christmas Carol. I totally get paid to do this… super cool, right? After I’m finally going to make those Christmas sugar cookies. We bought cookie cutters just for the occasion!

I’ll also finish editing photos for these fine, fabulous folks… I think I’m in love:

We  also took some awkward prom pics. It could be my specialty.

Here are the results of another advent activity, Christmas Coloring Party!

For whatever reason, Brett and I colored all the time when we first started dating. This was the first chance I got to initial my picture “AJM.” 🙂

Lastly, as I go through the advent season, I do have to say I’m compelled to dwell on the more eternal reasons for the season. When I read this post on my cousin Katie’s blog about Celebrating Christmas, I was struck. I want to challenge myself to make Christmas about more than blessing the blessed. I think that’s relevant no matter what your affiliation.

A Pause

This has not been a stellar blogging week! Monday and Tuesday were sick days, which have resulted in my working full days for the rest of the week. Not a lot of time for blogging in there!

So expect to get back on schedule this weekend and I’ll hopefully have lots more fun Christmasy activities to share with you and maybe a recipe or two!

Tonight, I’m taking Christmas pictures of my bestie and her boyfriend with their cat and I’m definitely going to have to post a picture or two from that. I made these fun little photo booth props for the occasion.

I expect some amazing things to happen. Hang on to your seats!

Day 9: Handmade Christmas Cards

Day 9 of our advent activities was to make each other Christmas Cards. I was looking forward to this one. It turned out as amazing as I expected. Brett hauled down our art supplies and we went to town. 

You’ll notice we were NOT messing around- mod podge, glitter, crayons, paper cutter, etc.

My card was inspired by this pin.

 My Christmasy living room:

Another advent activity was to have a Moser Family Band Christmas Sing Along. I didn’t take any photos (or recordings, oh my gah) but here is Elvis with one of my absolute favorite Christmas songs (and some nice winter/holiday imagery):

Also, in case you are wondering, I sing exactly how I think you’d expect me to sing- not that good, but not that bad either.

Craft Room Tour

So a really wonderful thing happened a couple weeks ago. After much debating and waiting (anticipating) Brett and I decided to pull the trigger on an Ikea purchase we’d been lusting over. Some new office furniture for our workspace downstairs, specifically. I’ll probably show off some photos of this later, but what I’m most excited about is what I’m going to show you now. 
I love to craft. I like to sew and paint and gift wrap and crochet and make wreaths and do all sorts of other projects that are potentially messy and awkward to do on the living room floor. However, as you might know, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. The other caveat of being a crafter is that you start to accumulate lots of supplies. While this tends to be a good thing because you don’t have to buy everything new every single time you want to complete a project- it also becomes a bit of a storage issue. 
I’d tried to create a reasonable storage space in our second bedroom closet by putting up some extra shelves and setting up a TV table for my sewing machine, but I’ll be honest, that just was NOT hacking it. Anytime I wanted to get something out, I had to unstack a big pile of stuff and it was cramped and awful and really not at all functional. 
For a long time our second bedroom has also been barely functional. It’s a quasi guest room, man cave, storage space, and headache. While it’s still sort of all of those things, we’ve decided to make it do all those things a little better. Brett is good at piecing away at furniture and decor that improves his space and makes it more enjoyable. I decided to take a page out of his book and create a functional craft space that I could use and love.  With the addition of some extra furniture, I was able to have space in the second bedroom for crafting, but not intrude too much on the other functions we needed it to serve (guest room, storage, Brett’s man cave). 
One of the wonderful consequences (intended purposes actually) of getting a new desk downstairs was freeing up the table we had been using. We hauled that bad dad upstairs (it is heavy!) and with the addition of two new Ikea shelves, suddenly my craft room was in business. Shelves make all the difference people. 

My sewing machine is always accessible and is available on a big, clean worktable. I’ve got nooks for each type of craft supply on my shelves and a big bulletin board for ideas and inspiration. 
At this point, it’s not that beautiful aesthetically speaking. I don’t have any cutesy bunting hanging up, or cute jars for my brushes and pens, or adorable animal figurines and so I’m really missing the hipster mark that I usually like to achieve with my general living, but IT IS FUNCTIONAL. And so we have a start. (Stay tuned for bunting.) 
Bonus Content for Readers Who Hung in This Long: 
Look at this cutie patootie. 

He was totally scoping out that Crate and Barrel mailer. “Two deers and two houses!”  (He was really just fascinated by the gel adhesive, but it was still cute.)

Christmas Printable Round Up

Still looking for ways to inject a little holiday spirit around your house or office while spending virtually no money?

Might I suggest the Christmas Printable!

Here’s the one that I have on my mantel, available here. (In other color combos, I might add)

These printables are great because you can just transform a frame you already own, use it for the season, and then swap back.

Here’s the print that I’ve had in the frame I’m using now, a quote from Da Vinci which is one of my absolute favorites. (I’ve posted this once before, here.)

Created by  My Best Friend Jules

Free printables are a dime a dozen on Pinterest and in that case, I say “AWESOME!” You can find a printable in every possible color scheme so there’s no way you won’t find one that will make your Christmas decor at least a *pinch* more delightful.

 Here are some of my favorites, so you don’t have to dig. (Note, click on the photo to navigate to the post where these printables are found. Click on the caption to navigate to the homepages of these sites.)

From AKA Design
If you click through the design below, you’ll also find some pretty adorable Grinch printables I’m fond of! 
From The Letter 4
I’m super partial to these vintage-style Christmas prints available here. These are a couple of my favorites. (Looks like lots of printables on the entire site!)
From Paulo Viveiros 
From Paulo Viveiros
From eighteen25
Here are a few other very simple ones with nice, clean designs from Printable Decor. (These can be downloaded to a much larger size in the original post.) 
From Printable Decor

From Printable Decor
Chalkboard printables are SUPER popular and will definitely fit in with any color scheme. Here’s a fave: 
From My Fabuless Life
lemon squeezy has some adorable printables all handily rounded up in “24 Days of Christmas Printable” posts from this year and last year! Here’s a favorite:

From lemon squeezy 
BONUS! Download these gorgeous printable gift tags (If I haven’t convinced you to make your own, that is.)

From lemon squeezy 
Ultimately, if you want it (and you have a reasonably functional color printer) it’s out there for you for free. Prints, gift tags, invitations, cards and so much more! 

Christmas Craft Tour: Homemade Gift Tags/Ornaments

I read A Beautiful Mess pretty religiously. And while some of the projects those girls do stem from their natural artistic ability (which I do not have) some set the bar low enough that I can feasibly achieve some success. Such are these gift tags! Here is the original post for the project. You’ll notice that I’ve copied it very closely, right down to the designs themselves. I’m a wonderful copy cat and a piss poor artist. Anyway, here’s the process!
Sculpey Clay is available at Walmart for about $6. My package made about 30 small gift tags. If you want bigger ornaments or have more tags to make- go for two. 
I don’t actually have any round cookie cutters so I used the cap from a plastic martini shaker and a small, square hors d’oeuvres bowl. 

Here’s my drawing process. You’ll notice that most of my tags turned out brown, not white like the original project. This is because once again, I failed to properly read directions. (Noticing a pattern here?) I really over-baked them because I expected for them to harden while baking. In reality, they harden as they cool and I didn’t realize that until the last 6 or so that I baked. However, my wrapping this year is just some brown kraft paper and string and so it goes quite well.

The original post recommends using a paint pen, but I found a sharpie worked just fine. See? 

The crop of them: 

I rounded them up, took them upstairs, and started wrapping away! I’m still not finished wrapping the gifts I’ve purchased! 

I’m really happy with how these turned out! They make the plain packages look special and personalized. The tags are tied up with gold ribbon and can be used as ornaments later! A definite success in my book. Inexpensive, easy, and impressive. 

Recipe Review- Muffin Pizzas

Time for another recipe review! I don’t really count these sorts of posts as presenting any new information to you, because let’s be honest- NONE of these recipes are original. In fact, they’ve already been blogged, reblogged, and redid. So at the risk of sounding like I’m trying to pry blog content right off of someone else’s site, I refer to these as reviews. Just my take on the whole shindig! 
I made these delicious muffin pizza cups for dinner and I just can’t even tell you how delicious they are. You must go out right now, spend like $2 and take like 5 minutes of your time and make them yourself. 
The first time I made them, I just grabbed pizza sauce, cheese, pepperoni, and the crust and it was so good. I added a sausage this time and made my own sauce and of course, it was great again. Turns out, just like regular pizza- the possibilities are endless.. 
Browning up sausage (Does this gross you out? Should it gross me out? It doesn’t.)

I used the premade pizza crust that comes in a biscuit can- which totally exists. I also increased this recipe from 8 servings to 12 by not reading the recipe all the way through and making enough to fill my entire muffin pan. If you make these, don’t worry about your dough not filling up each cup. It will rise as it bakes and everything will work perfectly. And deliciously. 

Here’s the story about making my own sauce. Again, I ignored the recipe and didn’t even realize it includes making your own sauce. I thought I was being originally creative here. At any rate, it mostly came from the place of me shopping at Aldi, them not stocking pizza sauce but having tomato sauce available for $.38 and me thinking that sounds a heckuva lot better than spending $3 on a big jar I’ll never use up. So I just dumped it into a bowl, tossed in some Italian seasoning, some oregano, and salt and pepper. Seemed okay to me! 

Filling up the adorably delicious muffins (You should have extra sausage left. You can eat this for breakfast later.)

Fill with cheese and put a little pepperoni hat on it! 

If you are in my kitchen, using my oven, and I am- then bake these at 400 degrees for 17 minutes. 
THEN EAT THEM LIKE THE PIZZA MONSTER YOU ARE. NOMNOMNOM. 

So good and you’re welcome.